Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Dark Sven (Sweden) – Go to The Hague (previous single/sample track from EP Prey Day)

Dark Sven. What a great artist name. It sounds like it should be attached to a Death Metal merchant, wearing a horned Viking helmet and carrying a wench under his arm, a bit like the guy on the NMC logo, except that he lost his (horns, not wench). Instead it belongs to a connoisseur of dream pop, believe it or not, one Henrik Möller.

Or at least dream pop is what Henrik would have us believe he is about. On parts of his six track EP, ‘Prey Day’ (which concerns itself with the concept of man as prey rather than being the predator – a bit like the Arnie movie I suppose) it sounds more like a Swedish take on Brit Pop, and on one of them he could be Rick Astley (if there could be another)!

There is a dark undercurrent to his work though which is evident from the titles to some of his songs, like ‘Subliminal Encounter’ and the title track itself, which tells the story of a dead deer which took on the form of his recently deceased best friend.

I don’t hear what I would describe as dream pop on this selected track, ‘Go to The Hague’ which seemed as if it would be the juiciest for your delectation. It won’t test your knowledge of current affairs to realise it references the International Court of Justice, which is located in the Dutch city and which might yet be the last resting place of Vlad if the learned judges there succeed in bringing him to trial for his war crimes.

I did indeed wonder if the song was about the Russian leader – and the promo profile picture does bear more than a passing resemblance – with lyrics like “A Russian guy went mad one day” but taken in isolation it is meaningless and a more likely bet is that it is a hand wringing dissertation on all the people who have ended up in The Hague, and before that places like Nuremberg, for their outrageous crimes against humanity, and who will do so in the future, because genocide won’t be running out of steam, or fashion, anytime soon. In fact it will probably get worse.

He manages to concoct some deep impact lyrics: “Let them all go to The Hague/with the five hundred/ Youngest dead souls by their side…” yet never gets too morbid and raises a smile with lines like “They should all be kept in a treatment centre/Surrounded by the whale singing every day” and his abrupt stylisation (“And then he ruins everything and/Then the masses die in pain and/ What’s the use?” is redolent of John Cooper Clarke.

Musically, it has the style of The Smiths, with Morrissey at the helm and Johnny Marr providing the jangly guitar. Heaven knows, Henrik’s subjects would be miserable in The Hague, where every day is like Sunday, waiting for the first of the gang to die.

‘Prey Day’ was released on January 25th.

Written by: Henrik Möller.

Extra vocals: Stella Lone.

Produced, mixed and mastered by: Jon Bordon.

Cover art: Kate England, Marmalade Moon.

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